Someone Made a Terrifying Robotic Face for Their Amazon Alexa

Alexa, what is the uncanny valley?

by Samantha Cole
Jan 26 2017, 2:00pm

Image: Steve Studnicki/YouTube

Watch this and try not to have nightmares. A hobbyist roboticist gave Amazon's voice assistant Alexa an almost human, mostly unsettling face. Its lips move, its earrings dangle, its eyes shift, and out comes the voice of Amazon's plucky, helpful artificial intelligence.

Steve Studnicki, who posts his robotic creations to YouTube, made the Alexa bot and the rest of the bots using EZ-Robot software. A Sabrent USB audio plug controls two servo motors for the mouth, aligning Alexa's words with the robotic lips.

Studnicki's robot creation is named Elvia. An earlier version was voiced by Google's Android, and in an older video, it can be seen speaking with a disembodied Alexa on an Amazon Echo Dot. Now, the two have been merged into a terrifying hybrid.

They play a game of Word Master and browse nearby pizza places, while Studnicki's recreation of Lt. Commander Data's android child "LAL" from Star Trek: The Next Generation stands watching in the background.

In a video from 2015, Studnicki asks LAL a series of questions. The video cuts off at "LAL, how are you doing?" Consider all of this potential archival footage for when the robots rise.

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